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Lars von Trier Banned From Cannes For Anti-Semitic Comments

Lars von Trier Banned From Cannes For Anti-Semitic Comments (photo)

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It began with a film about the end of the world. Now it’s the end of Cannes for one filmmaker.

In the wake of his anti-Semitic comments (or just really tasteless anti-Semitic jokes), director Lars von Trier has been banned from the Cannes Film Festival. Here is Cannes’ official statement on the subject:

“The Festival de Cannes provides artists from around the world with an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression and creation. The Festival’s Board of Directors, which held an extraordinary meeting this Thursday 19 May 2011, profoundly regrets that this forum has been used by Lars von Trier to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the Festival.

The Board of Directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately.”

This despite the fact that von Trier had already issued an apology for the remarks, which came at the Cannes press conference for his new apocalyptic film “Melancholia.” Steven Zeitchik from The Los Angeles Times got further apology and explanation during his interview with von Trier:

“I’m really sincere when I say I don’t really know what hit me. I can understand if you take things out of context. This was very sarcastic and very rude, but that’s very Danish. I’m very sorry that it’s being taken the wrong way… I must say that I believe strongly that the Holocaust is the worst crime against humanity ever, and I do not sympathize with Hitler one second.”

von Trier definitely went too far with his first comments, but now we have to wonder: did Cannes go too far with its response? What von Trier said was titanically stupid; even if it wasn’t meant seriously (and I don’t believe it was) it has to be one of the worst jokes in history. And this wasn’t something said privately to a friend within earshot of a journalist, it was said at a scheduled press conference in front of basically the entirety of the international film press. To say something like that, in a place like that, even to provoke, is so dumb that to some degree von Trier deserves whatever punishment he gets.

But as many point out — as Cannes’ own press statement points out — Cannes is supposed to be a place dedicated to free expression. And within 24 hours of von Trier’s awful comments, Cannes welcomed Mel Gibson — no stranger to awful comments himself — to walk their famous red carpet in support of his movie “The Beaver.” Gibson has a history of anti-Semitism; so why is he okay and von Trier is not? It can’t be because he apologized; von Trier apologized too. Or what about a filmmaker like Roman Polanski, who hasn’t simply said controversial things; he’s been convicted of committing actual crimes. But he’s welcome at Cannes; his film, “The Pianist” (about the Holocaust, he says, bringing things full circle) played the festival in 2002.

I was pretty offended by von Trier’s comments, to paraphrase a line from “Seinfeld,” less as a Jew than as a comedian. I said yesterday I didn’t expect an apology; but we already got one. It’s not like he apologized while getting a swastika tattooed on his forehead or something. von Trier may not be the best public speaker, but he is one of the best filmmakers, and I don’t think he or his films are truly anti-Semitic. He doesn’t deserve to be banned from the Cannes Film Festival. So here’s a compromise: ban him from having any more dumb press conferences, and let the movies speak for themselves.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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